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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2001

    Installing Contractor

    I am sort of confused. We are a refrigeration contractor. We typically have our hands into the HVAC/Lighting control systems and the refrigeration systems as we have the knowledge to coordinate to the electrical contractor as to how we want the systems done from their end. Almost always there is this ***** about who's work is who's. Not one electricican I have ever met has a clue as to controls. So we basically tell them how and what to do and we terminate.

    We bid as the energy management and as the refrigeration. There seems to be mass confusion as to whom must do what work when it comes to controls. We do canned stuff, nothing like BMS in buildings where things are more open. Typically our control systems are the refrigeration control, that also has light commercial hvac control capability.

    Licensing in Michigan is not specific. As far as I have interpreted. I have done the whole thing, I also have been the guy standing over the electrician, and I also have been banned from the work since the work is supposedly the electricians. I want to know how to find out the exact who's work is who's. The info may be usefull to take into the office and so we have an idea on what we do from here on these systems.

    I have been in class for the last two weeks, away from home, to obatain certification on 2 different control systems that we do. The systems require it. Now. If the sparky has jurisdiction, how the heck can he be doing it with out having knowledge.

    Now. Does anyone know the specific laws as it pertains to MI, what I can and can not touch.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Pacific Time Zone
    I don't but the solution may be to have the electrician be your sub on the controls. Find a company you can work closely with who will begin to understand how you want things hooked up. I do agree with you though, I've assisted many questions from electricians that know wire and conduit sizing but they know very little about troubleshooting and even less about controls. You may also just want to start adjusting your bids so you account for some/most of the BS that goes on when it isn't clear who pulls what. You can put exclusions in your bids as well - all fire alarm wiring, all wiring requiring over 24VAC. High voltage power (120/208/230/240/480/277 VAC) will need to be provided to the control panel location by the electrical contractor. Granted you'll have relays that will need to switch high voltage many times and that becomes a gray area, especially when it is easier to do it yourself than to try to show the electrician how you want the relay hooked up. Work on developing a relationship with the electrical contractor - a good relationship goes a long ways, and will likely save both contractors money in the long run.
    "How it can be considered "Open" is beyond me. Calling it "voyeur-ed" would be more accurate." pka LeroyMac, SkyIsBlue, fka Freddy-B, Mongo, IndyBlue
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    I as a control guy kinda fall into 2 categories, i could be an electrician or a data/communication dude. Do to us pulling light gauge wire and working with low voltage most of the time, this is where we typically fall (data). What crab master said is the best way to go about it.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    arlington, tx
    i was doing the plumbing for a 24 hour fitness where all faucets and flush valves had automatic solenoids the electrician didnt understand you could use 1 transformer for multiple devices so after alot of arguing and him whining to the gc they ordered about 40 and tried to backcharge us when they only needed about 4

    the moral of the story is when your forced to coordinate with someone who doesnt know anything more than pulling wire through conduit your out of luck

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2002
    I think it's simple. If the electrician has a problem and wants the install you can say the following:

    OK. Great. It's our control system and you need certification. Have your certified guys show up here ASAP and present their qualifications.

    No qualified installers? OK. I'm certified. You can work under my company to complete the work. Lets negotiate on a cost to do this. I oversee the installation and anything and give final approvals. Your guys do the work. Submit your cost for doing the work (if they haven't already included it). (require them to submit first). Then simply make your cost for overseeing cover the overages they want to charge you after you go through their bid with a fine tooth comb and question everything.

    Or, if they want to go ahead alone that's up to them. Let them make that decision and simply tell the GC your are certified for the system and they are not. You will simply charge them for the design information. If something isn't right on their end you don't start it up until it is correct. Write the GC you already gave the electrician the opportunity to negotiate checking their installation and they refused. If the job gets to the point where there is an issue either the GC or the electrician can hire you then. No need to give directions to somebody who insists they are more qualified then you.

    That takes care of the issues. If they want to install the system because of their union or local jurisdiction you don't have to roll over. Keep it on your terms. Who cares who installs it if it is correct and you are paid? Your name goes on it afterwards for service anyway.

    I did a job in Illinois and the union electrician was a real #$(*&(. Did more complaining than working. I told the (*$( to get his certified guys on it immediately. If not, I keep working to get the job finished. (GC present). I asked him who he was able to get. Of course he's got nobody and a couple hours later his BA shows up all pissed off with the "our work" garbage. I went directly at him and asked him point-blank where is your qualified guys? Is this a licensed work in IL? Do you have any qualified guys? Answer the question.... I answered it for him and said you got nobody and we aren't stopping the job because you can't supply proper labor. Then he says he has cabling guys and we can tell them what to do. So, I tell the retard electrician to tell his boss we are charging him for oversight and as soon as he signs off on the order they can install.

    Man was the boss pissed off at his idiot employee. I'll bet that guy was permanently laid off.

    BTW- they did a crappy job. Drilled through the bottom of RTU's in the wrong spots... etc...

    Morale of the story is let the other guy dig the hole.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Auckland New Zealand
    We have our Preferred electrician that knows and understands our controls and standards. But on jobs where we know that the electrician is going to be hard work we add in commissioning hrs and do the final ternination our selfs and most of the time the electrician show interrest and learns a bit and more importantly nothing get blown up.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Northwest Indiana
    Hey Dow, long time bro

    I think its a universal rule. If its pipe with wire in it, it's their work. Illinois is a csfamf when it comes to control work.
    The only thing I've ever got away with was low voltage sheided cable, not run in conduit.
    I imagine Michigan union's are like chicago unions, except michigan has more guys on the bench for pi**ing in to many sandboxes.

    Anyhoo, glad to see your still around
    If you cant fix it right, try again.

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